Catch me if you can…

finish line photo

This is gonna be the motto for 2012. It isn’t really anything new, and frankly for the last three years every pro that has raced against me has known exactly how I was gonna race. That I was gonna stay at the front in the swim and then try and absolutely blow the doors off everyone in the bike, in hopes that I can run well enough to stay in front. It works some times, and others it ends in pretty epic blow ups, but as I have gotten more experienced over the years and learned to dial in the little things like nutrition and bike position better I have had more success.

swim start beach

2012’s racing season has finally begun this past weekend, and it was at the Rev3 Costa Rica triathlon. I went down to CR armed with a new Kestrel 4000, an awesome new plaid Pearl Izumi race kit, and my First Endurance nutrition staples. Traveling down there with my boy Allen Gardner we got in late Friday evening and then went through the normal pre race motions on Saturday, riding and running the course and taking a swim in the ocean. At the time the wind was really whipping up and making all 3 a little tougher than normal, and justifying my decision to only take my Shimano C75 race wheels in place of a disc. I was even psyched to find out that the Reserva Conchal restaurant could make me a Hawaiian pizza for dinner on Saturday night.

Going into the race I knew I was fit, and although I hadn’t done much speed work as of yet, I was race ready, especially for a tough course. The one different thing about this race was that it started super early. I have done a lot of 6:45 and 7am starts but never a 6am race start. This meant that unless I wanted to get up really early I was going to have to be very efficient with my breakfast and my warm up to get everything done in time for the start.

 

Allen and I rode down to the start of the race for a little warm up and then after setting things up in transition, got out for a little bit of a jog to check out closer what the dirt section of the bike course was gonna be like. Although it was rough, it was hard packed and if your stayed in the car tracks seemed like it wouldn’t be a big deal.  After throwing back a couple of FE pre race capsules I headed down for a quick swim warm up, and then it was time for the race.

 

I had a good outside starting spot and on the whistle had a nice little run into the water. I always like beach run in’s, one because they are fun, and two because I always feel like other than an actual pontoon start they give pool swimmers the biggest advantage with the dolphin diving at the start. I made my way to the front and by the first turn buoy I was in the lead. I guided us around the triangle, up the beach, and back out for a second lap. I was feeling pretty good and although I wasn’t killing myself was keeping a good enough pace that no one wanted to try and go around me. At the swim exit we were down to a small group of 5 or 6 and we booked it up the beach and to the bikes. Leo Chacon led us out and up the dirt section, but as soon as we hit pavement I went tearing up the steep hill in front of us and never looked back.

 

Aside from the school bus that mucked up one of the u-turns, and some of the random campfires that were putting out a fair amount of smoke on the course, the bike was a good hard, uneventful ride. I hammered out a good effort and it was the first time I have ever raced with an SRM so I am excited to see the actual data from the event. The one thing I did differently on the bike was my nutrition was a bit tweaked. A couple weeks ago, Robert Kunz, of FE was in Boulder and while talking to him we touched on what to do differently in the heat. He was emphasizing the need to lessen calorie intake, or increase liquid intake during the race to maintain you body in the heat. Since I only have two bottles I chose the first and diluted the “Hulk Juice” a bit by only adding 100 or so calories of gel instead of the usual 300. I don’t know if it made a huge difference but I ran well in the heat, and historically that has not been my strong suit, so I think there was something to keeping my gut from getting bogged down or dehydrated.

 

By the time we hit the run I had about a 2 minute gap on the guys and tried to hammer out a good first lap of the course. By the time I made it back to T2 for lap 2 there were no great splits but I couldn’t see anyone behind me and they said I had a solid gap. I tried to stay focused on my form and on keeping cool for most of the second lap, and then once I hit the golf course with a solid lead tried to enjoy it a bit. The hardest part of the whole run was the last 100m because it was in some really soft, deep sand, but I knew I had won and tried to enjoy the opportunity to run on a beach. Coming into the finish shoot I slapped some hands, and threw up the “303” sign before I grabbed the finish tape. It was an awesome way to start the season and hopefully a sign of the good things to come in 2012.

 

Gotta say thanks to the awesome Rev3 team for putting on a good race and also the great Costa Rican fans that lined the run course. They were super friendly the whole trip and very enthusiastic about their triathlon. I will definitely be making a trip back to race or vacation sometime in the future.

 

Now its two weeks of recovery and training to get ready to do it again at Nautica South Beach and try and defend my 2011 title…

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